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Lost & Found

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Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair. Her struggling mother, grieving the death of Millie’s father, leaves her in the big ladies’ underwear department of a local store and never returns.

Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, hasn't left her house—or spoken to another human being—since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silences by yelling at passersby, watching loud static on the TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule.

Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now that she’s gone, he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl’s been committed to a nursing home, but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Now he’s on the lam.

Brought together in strange circumstances, the three will embark upon a road trip across Western Australia to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, Karl wants to find out how to be a man again, and Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was. Together, they will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself feel sad once in a while just might be the key to a happy life.

289 pages, Paperback

First published June 24, 2014

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Brooke Davis

13 books235 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,821 reviews
Profile Image for Stephen Lemon.
12 reviews8 followers
July 29, 2014
I was hoping that I'd enjoy this, and it was certainly quirky and a little different, but in the end, nothing in the book was really believable enough to allow me to engage with it properly. The storyline is pretty hard to take seriously, the writing is frequently twee and sentimental, and almost all of the characters and their actions are unconvincing to an extent that is quite bizarre at times. I can only assume that Brooke Davis has led a very sheltered life, and never actually had any lengthy interactions with the sort of ordinary people that work on trains, drive buses, are old, or get drunk and then walk through cemeteries. This book wasn't entirely terrible, and I almost enjoyed it, but at the same time, I worry slightly about my state of mind when I see that this book is so well-received and people seem to really relate to it. Oh well...
Profile Image for Maxine (Booklover Catlady).
1,286 reviews1,248 followers
June 6, 2019
A book that touched my heart and soul in so many ways. It made me laugh, it made me sad, it made me think, it made me glad. Endearing and poignant, a book to remember forever. It's been compared to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, and I agree, I loved that book too. And I loved this book. In a squillion ways.

From the first chapter I knew I was in for a treat, my heart strings were pulled and my funny bone was tickled. I didn't know whether to burst out laughing or grab the tissues. I love books like this. Very character driven with emotional undertones that make it memorable.

Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back.

Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street.

Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes.

The book is set in Australia (I used to live there you know?). Millie goes to a big department store one day with her mum and is told to "wait there", so wait she does, for days. Her mum never comes back. I wanted to go and get Millie and take her home. This little girl has the most amazing personality and inquisitive mind. She wastes no time in ensuring her mum knows where she is if her mum does come back to get her.

Before this Millie lives happily with her mum and dad and each day is full of things to learn for inquisitive Millie. Like where her dog has gone after dying. Where do they go? Millie's mum seems to know.
He's gone to a better place, her mother shouted at her while vacuuming the lounge room. A better place? What? Yes, heaven, love, haven't you heard of it? Don't they teach you anything in that bloody school? Lift your legs! It's doggy heaven, where there's eternal dog biscuits and they can poop wherever they please. Okay, legs down. I said, legs down! And they poop, I don't know, dog biscuits, so all they do is poop and eat dog biscuits and run around and eat the other dogs' poop. Which are actually dog biscuits. Millie took a moment. Why would they waste time here then? What? Well, they, um, have to earn it. They have to stay here until they get voted over to a better place. Like doggy Survivor.
Doggy Survivor! Voted over! I was in hysterics!

Millie really loves her dad too, he is also a wealth of wisdom when trying to answer Millie's never ending questions about death and dying, she is obsessed with it you see.
You see, Squirt, there's heaven, and there's hell. Hell is where they send all the bad people, like criminals and con artists and parking inspectors. And heaven is where they send all the good people, like you and me and that nice blonde from Master-Chef. What happens where you get there? In heaven, you hang out with God and Jimi Hendrix, and you get to eat doughnuts whenever you want. In hell, you have to, uh...do the Macarena. Forever. To that "Grease Megamix." Where do you go if you're good and bad? What? I don't know. IKEA?
Are you getting how special this book is?, honestly it's such a mix of feeling good all over and then feeling intensely sad for wee Millie and her situation in life. Such an old soul in a little body. Bless her cotton socks.

Millie friends Karl, who visits the department store every day. He is a quirky and lonely old man, absolutely delightful in every way. Kind hearted and hilariously funny. He's like the Grandad you wish that you had. He's an absolutely gorgeous old man with a load of funny ideas.

Then we meet Agatha, again such a character, she yells instead of speaking and it's terribly sad the way she spends her days. A character that can be both funny and annoying all in the one sentence. Her husband, whom she never talked to has died, and she is all alone. Agatha has a lot to say about things.
Ron's saddening penis was Agatha's first clue that her husband was aging. The second came when she saw the hair in his ears, waving in the wind like the hands of drowning men.
Oh! The imagery! Just brilliantly done.

There are some hilarious paragraphs in this book, I am talking snort laughter, rollicking funny, don't read this one on a crowded bus or train, it's hysterical in places.

BUT..It's also a very sad story.

Emotional and powerful. The strange trio come together through their loneliness and sadness and are determined to travel to find Millie's mum. It's the trip of a lifetime with so much that goes on between them and to them along the way. Things will never be the same again after this trip across Australia. Breaking some rules and laws along the way.

Millie misses her mum, why did she go away? Why did she not come back for Millie after telling her to wait for her in the department store, under the rack where the big ladies knickers were? Why indeed. Millie meets other mums along the journey, this little bit of Millie's heart nearly broke me.
And Millie wants to curl up in her arms and stay there and never leave, but she doesn't do that because the lady isn't her mum and you can't really do that to mums who aren't yours. But you should be able to hug all the mums who aren't yours, because some people don't have mums and what are they supposed to do with all the hugs they have?
The book is unique and special, very character driven, written with so much heart and soul. The author wrote the book based on very personal loss and circumstances. I think that comes across in it, it's so raw emotionally in places, I had a lump in my throat a few times.

I adored these three misfit characters, I loved watching the relationship dynamics change between them on their quest to find Millie's mum. It's so special and so heart warming. Insights into everyday people, loneliness, loss and more. It's a wonderful thing to be part of.

So, in saying and sharing all of this. What an astonishing book, just read it, make a nice cup of tea or coffee, turn off the TV and your phone, open it up (or start up your Kindle) and jump into the world that is Millie Bird and her very special journey. 5 well earned stars.

I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sally906.
1,363 reviews3 followers
March 3, 2015
I really wanted to like this book, many of my reading friends, whose opinions I trust, loved it; the critics were certainly praising it to the hilt - but I just didn't. Yes it was quirky and different and there were moments when I engaged with each of the characters, but not enough to stay engaged, I certainly wouldn’t like them to be close friends – reckon they’d drive me nuts.

I also had trouble with the speech – when a character spoke it was all in italics; and not necessarily a new line for each person instead it often just started in the paragraph whenever a thought became the spoken word. It irked me no end.

Maybe I was put off at the very start when she found her dead dog I was appalled at the indifference of her parents not giving it a decent burial, or removing the body, instead they just dumped it in the garden. I was told this was black humour - sorry didn't get the humour. In the end I found Lost and Found to be only an average read and struggled to stay focused and finish the book - it just didn’t sparkle for me.
Profile Image for Aliaa Mohamed.
1,055 reviews2,193 followers
December 26, 2016
أن تستطيع قراءة رواية تقارب 300 صفحة في جلستين فقط في أشد الأوقات حلكة نفسيًا وعصبيًا، فهو دليل كافِ على نجاح تلك الرواية.
أن تظل مشدودًا منذ الصفحة الأولى وحتى الأخيرة بنفس المقدار دون أي شعور بالملل على الإطلاق، فهو دليل كافِ على نجاح تلك الرواية.
أن تجد نفسك منغمسًا بشكل كلي في أحداث الرواية وتمر بنفس مشاعر الأشخاص وتتعاطف معهم، فهو دليل كافِ على نجاح تلك الرواية.

" تائهون في أستراليا " اسم رواية قد يجعل القاريء في البداية يظن أنها من تلك النوعية من فئة الروايات التجارية التي لا تغني ولا تسمن من جوع ولكن هذا ليس بالمقياس..

حسنًا في أول الصفحات تظن أن محور الرواية هي الطفلة " ميلي " التي تنقلب حياتها رأسًا على عقب بعد وفاة والدها وهرب والدتها وتخليها عن رعايتها بشكل مفاجيء، ولكن بظهور كلًا من " آغاثا بانثا " و " كارل" نجد أن كل منهم خط سير في حياته مختلف عن الآخر ولكن عند لحظة ما ينصهرون جميعًا في بوتقة واحدة..

الأجمل من فكرة الرواية ذاتها هو أسلوب المعالجة وطريقة الطرح، فقد صدقت الجملة الواقعة على الغلاف " رواية ستضحكك وتبكيك وتجعلك أكثر حكمة ".

التائه هنا في تلك الرواية لا يعني شخصًا يبحث عن آخر، ولكنه يعني أيضًا شخص يبحث عن حياته المفقودة في الوقت الضائع، شخص يبحث عن ذاته التي فقدها بعد وفاة زوجته..

أنصح بقراءتها
Profile Image for Anne Mcginnes.
62 reviews2 followers
October 21, 2018
Little Millie learns to deal with grief, death and abandonment in company with two elderly people also dealing with grief.
I really wanted to like this book but I didn't. I just didn't believe the premise it was based on and I didn't believe the characters. The whole thing was too cutesey and artificial for me.
I was particularly annoyed by the characterisation of the old people, Agatha and Karl. There was no subtlety. I think the author meant their personalities, their behaviour and their strange habits to come across as quirky, endearing and eccentric, but they just seemed cartoonish to me and I didn't like the way Davis poked fun at the vulnerability of the elderly.
However, I must acknowledge that my opinion seems to be out of step with most reviewers who describe the book as "whimsical" and "heart-warming". I must have missed something.
Profile Image for Monica.
Author 4 books262 followers
March 28, 2017
Un libro que me gustó pero siento que no me dio lo que me había prometido en la parte de atrás, muy bien escrito y con personajes fuertes, los ancianos me cautivaron y me hicieron reír con sus ocurrencias y esa forma tan bonita en la que aprendieron de la vida junto a Millie, la niña por la que todo inicia. Una historia con un gran trasfondo pero un tanto tediosa de leer y un mensaje difuso, pero no le quita que es un libro que merece ser leído.
Profile Image for Jülie ☼♄ .
475 reviews22 followers
January 12, 2015

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis
Read from July 15 to 16, 2014

This is an incredible debut novel!
I'm going to go the full five stars with this one as I absolutely loved it!!
From start to finish it had me hooked and I loved the quirky characters with all their nutty activities and routine peccadilloes.
I found them totally believable and Brooke Davis's ability to tap into the unique psyche of each of the characters was just brilliant...especially Millie Bird... Nothing was left out, every detailed thought down to the smallest of actions was well orchestrated and performed.

I wanted this book to go on and on and wondered what kind of an ending could possibly be satisfactory as the, "all lived happily ever after" scenario didn't seem likely or plausible. I figured it could go a couple of ways but in the end I was surprised...though not disappointed with the ending as I believe it was true to the overall story as outlined...and still left room for the imagination.
The book gives some wonderful perspectives on life and death, and growing up, and growing old...and heartache, and heartbreak.
It is, in a special way, profound.

Many times throughout I laughed out loud and teared up in equal measure, it certainly tugged at the heart strings. I was sad to turn the last page, because it meant it was over.
For me, this is a keeper!

*Author Craig Silvey (Jasper Jones) got a mention (among many others) in the authors' acknowledgements at the end, for his advice during the writing of this book.

In reading this I was reminded of books like...
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
and Harold and Maude by Colin Higgins, two favorites of mine, both for their quirky characters and storylines.

Most highly recommended to all
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,268 followers
January 23, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Chloe Healy, Random House UK, Cornerstone, and NetGalley.)

“Everyone knows everything about being born, and no one knows anything about being dead.”

Where to start with this book? It was a little bit strange, and a little bit funny in places, and the characters were quite strange too.

“'In heaven, you hang out with God and Jimi Hendrix, and you get to eat doughnuts whenever you want. In hell, you have to uh… do the Macarena. Forever. To that ‘Grease Megamix’'
'Where do you go if you’re good and bad?'
'What? I don’t know. IKEA?'”

There were 3 main characters in this book – Millie – a seven year old girl, Karl – an elderly man who can touch type, and Agatha – an old lady who liked to shout a lot, and not leave her house.

“Stop molesting my fence!”

I felt quite sorry for Millie, not only had she had to deal with the death of her father, but to then be abandoned by her mother was just awful. How anyone could abandon their 7-year-old daughter in a department store was just beyond me.

“She wasn’t to know that after recording twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book of Dead Things – Spider, The Bird, Grandma, next door’s cat Gertrude, among others – her dad would be a Dead Thing too.”

Karl was a bit of an odd character, but it seemed obvious how much he missed his dead wife. I also felt sorry for him because his family seemed to not want him, and he felt he hadn’t really done anything with his life.

“He ripped a marker off the clipboard that sat at the end of his bed and wrote, Karl The Touch Typist Wuz ‘Ere, in shaky letters, hugely, on the wall above his bed.”

Agatha was another odd character. I couldn’t work out whether she had ever loved her dead husband, or why she had decided to barricade herself in her house for 7 years. The constant shouting was a bit weird too, and the talk about penises was a little shocking as well.

“Never trust a woman skinnier that you! Write that down!”

The storyline in this revolved around these three people getting together and trying to track down Millie’s missing mother, whether she wanted to be found or not. And the way they came to know each other, and the adventures they had along the way. I can’t say I really enjoyed these adventures, but I did enjoy some of the weird things these characters said, and the strange things they did!

“’Can I go explore?’ she whispers.
‘Sure,’ Karl whispers back. Just don’t talk to strange men.
‘You’re a strange man.’
Karl thinks about this. ‘Other ones.’”

The ending to this wasn’t brilliant in my opinion, I felt like there were too many loose threads left, and I didn’t get the sort of closure I’d have liked. I also found the ’10 years from now’ bit at the end a bit depressing really.

"Everyone knows that everyone else has a crying face, just as they all have an orgasm face, but they are on The List Of Faces No One Sees."

6 out of 10
Profile Image for Kate.
795 reviews
July 13, 2014
I’m torn by this book. Had I read it knowing nothing about the author, I probably would have thought “Odd…some bits good, some a bit ridiculous….”. But that’s not the way it worked out. A few weeks ago, I watched Australian Story. For my overseas readers, Australian Story is a weekly half-hour doco, featuring a story about an Australian – sometimes unsung heroes, sometimes ordinary people dealing with extraordinary issues. My husband loves this show. I don’t. The reason I don’t is because 95% of time it’s about people dying, usually children or parents. My husband disputes this but nonetheless, a few minutes into watching each week, I wander into the living room and ask “Who died this time?”. And he usually answers.

Then a fortnight ago my husband says “You should watch Australian Story this week, it’s about an author.” Excellent! *remembering the Australian Story episode about Hannah Kent*

So I watch.

The author’s mother was killed in a terrible, freak accident. *Australian Story theory upheld*

Lost and Found is her tribute to her mother, her way of grieving.

And the author goes and creates a sweet, dear, heartbreaking character in Millie – a seven-year-old whose dad has died and whose mum has abandoned her, and who leaves little notes everywhere that say things like I’M HERE MUM and BACK SOON MUM, and honestly, how can I cope?*

“She soon noticed that everything was dying around her. Bugs and oranges and Christmas trees and houses and letterboxes and train rides and textas and candles and old people and young people and people in between. She wasn’t to know that after she recorded twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book of Dead Things – Spider, The Bird, Grandma, next door’s cat Gertrude, among others – her dad would be a Dead Thing, too. That she’d write it next to the number twenty-eight in letters so big they took up two pages: MY DAD.”

“It’s important to have your mum. Mums bring you jackets and turn on your electric blanket before you get into bed and always know what you want better than you do. And sometimes they let you sit on their lap and play with the rings on their fingers while ‘Deal or No Deal’ is on.”

“But you should be able to hug all the mums who aren’t yours, because some people don’t have mums and what are they supposed to do with all the hugs they have?”

At face value, Lost and Found is a story about a little girl trying to find her mum, assisted by two elderly strangers – Karl, a nursing home escapee, and Agatha, who’s reclusive and cranky. Deeper themes are explored through each character – death, love, companionship – these themes are equally relevant for each character but executed using different sets of circumstances and back-stories. Clever.

But things went awry when I was introduced to the character Agatha, whose full name is Agatha Pantha. It’s a silly (not ‘quirky’) name and it grated on me after the exquisite and delicate introductory chapters told from Millie’s point of view (for those not familiar, Agapanthus are prolific large, flowering plants that are classified as a weed in many parts of Australia).

And the character of Karl the Touch Typist – I loved him – but I didn’t love his sidekick, Manny.

And the shenanigans of this trio of characters sometimes bordered on comical – slap-stick high jinx.

And I kept coming back to the fact that there is an abandoned seven-year-old at the heart of it all… And… And… My daughter is seven and the thought of her being left on her own in a shopping centre, even for a nanosecond, makes my stomach clench and my throat close in fear. Ultimately, I can’t find the humour in that situation.

3/5 It’s a hit (Millie) and a miss (Agatha). Karl evens out the extremes.

I received my copy of Lost and Found from the publisher, Hachette Australia, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

*Will never watch Australian Story again
Profile Image for Lisa.
750 reviews131 followers
March 9, 2017
Phenomenal book here! Don't miss this one, especially if you do audio, the narrations are among the very best I've ever experienced. I laughed out loud about 3 dozen times and that's no exaggeration. This book is witty, wise, and touching. Such memorable characters! Millie Bird, Karl the touch typist, Agatha Pantha, Captain Funeral and Captain Everything will not soon be forgotten. 5 stars, 6 if I could!
January 5, 2016
محتوى القصة مدهش. طريقة الحوارات والفصول والاحداث حتضحكك وتبكيك.
الشخصيات طبيعي تحبها وكل ما نقابل شخصية جديدة ضروري نتعلق عليها.
الكتاب حسسني بحزن بمشاهد الفراق وبعض الحوارات، واضحكني في اكثر من موقف. ونهاية الكتاب مؤثرة
الكتاب شبيه بفيلم سينمائي
بداية جميلة لسنة 2016
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,094 reviews589 followers
September 14, 2014
This is a gorgeous, little gem of a book. Although it deals with serious matters like grief, loss, abandonment and death it has many humorous moments and is guaranteed to make you smile while tugging at your heartstrings at the same time.

Millie Bird is a delightful red headed, 7 y old girl. As with all young children, she struggles to understand death and has a Book of Dead Things starting with her dog Rambo, a spider, a bird, Grandma, next door's cat and then at number 28 her Dad.

Millie's Mum does not cope well with the death of her husband and one day abandons Millie in a shopping centre next to a rack of Ginormous Undies. While waiting in the department store, Millie has many adventures and befriends Karl the Touch Typist, who is constantly typing messages to his dead wife with his fingers and has escaped from an old peoples home. Eventually Millie seeks help from a neighbour, Agatha Pantha, a cranky old woman who has not left her house in the seven years since the death of her husband and spends her days peering through her window shouting abuse at people passing by.

Agatha and Karl both set out to help Millie find her Mum. They have both suffered from loneliness and isolation since the loss of their partners and Millie helps to open the world up to them again and helps them see it's important to overcome grief and live while we can.

I loved the way Brooke Davis is able to see into the minds of children, particularly Millie but also her friend Jeremy (aka Captain Everything). Millie's antics in the shopping centre were delightful and her yearning for her Mum real and heartfelt, with her leaving a string of notes ('In here Mum') as she went in case her Mum was trying to find her. It is also clear that the author has great empathy with elderly people, seeing beyond their wrinkles and infirmities to the core of their personalities and showing that they need not be invisible.

It's the idiosyncratic touches that the author uses to tell her story that make this book so charming. Such as Agatha's reaction to the casseroles left by her neighbours following her husband's death and her naming of chairs according to their uses (ie. the Chair of Disbelief where she measure her wrinkles, the Chair of Discernment where she watches the street).

Although the book ends somewhat abruptly, I was happy with the ending and felt it was a satisfying outcome, although would have been curious to know a little more about how it came about. In particular . Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Ashley Adriana maria.
17 reviews16 followers
May 17, 2019
DNF at page 97. I really tried but its is just to unbelievable. The characters, their lives, the things they do and say. Its just all too weird.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,116 reviews1,977 followers
July 17, 2014
This was a quirky and entertaining read about a delightful little girl, abandoned by her mother but protected by fortune in quite remarkable ways. I loved Millie and my heart ached for her every time she put up one of her notices saying "In here mum." I liked both Karl and Agatha for the first half of the book but felt they became over the top as the story progressed. And the ending took me quite by surprise in that it just kind of happened with no warning and no real conclusion to events. (This was compounded by the fact that I was reading on my Kindle which said 93% and so I was not expecting to be at the end yet!) However I will remember the beginning of the book for a long time - those scenes in the department store are priceless! I would recommend this book to anyone who likes their characters a bit odd and their stories not held back by facts.
Profile Image for Amanda.
72 reviews21 followers
July 19, 2017
What a fantastic, quirky little novel!

Masking a very sad and heartbreaking story are a lot of hilarious, laugh out loud moments. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.

Profile Image for Maya Panika.
Author 1 book68 followers
January 21, 2015
Rarely does a book arrive on my doormat so over-egged with praise. Rarely does a book so desperately fail to live up to its supposed promise.
According to the cover blurb, 'The search is over for the star debut of 2015'. According to the publishers, this is 'a mix of great storytelling and truly memorable characters, sparkling humour and deep emotion'. It is compared with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and really, this is nothing like any of those books. It cannot hold a crate of candles to any of them.
I'm afraid I disliked it from the very start. 'Within two pages I was laughing' says Senior Editor Sarah Rigby on a page of glowing testimonials. Well, gosh. Who thinks a child finding her dog dead at the side of the road, funny? It is the appalling callous indifference of her parents about the dead dog - to the extent that they cannot even be bothered to dig a grave for Rambo but dump him in the garden - that has these people rolling in the aisles? I'm afraid I failed to see the joke, and it didn't get any better as it went on, either.

Lost and Found doesn't sparkle. The plot is silly. It isn't funny. It isn't touching. Far from being memorable, the characters are shallow and two-dimensional to the point where I wondered if they were really meant to be like this; if it was some point the author was making, but considering the development of the plot and the sheer childishness of the whole project, I truly doubt it. I really didn't get this book at all. But apparently, this was #3 in the Australian bestsellers lists, so maybe it's a cultural thing? Because I found it empty, irritating, and deeply disappointing.
Profile Image for Shelleyrae at Book'd Out.
2,419 reviews497 followers
June 26, 2014

Three months after her dad became A Dead Thing, Millie Bird's mother takes her to a department store and asks her to wait for her. Clutching her backpack stuffed with frozen juice boxes, texta's, tea light candles, a Just In Case glass jar and her Book of Dead Things, Millie waits, huddled under a rack of Ginormous Women's Underwear, for her mother's gold shoes to come click clacking back.
Karl the Touch Typist, an 87 year old escapee from a nursing home still mourning the loss of his beloved wife, Evie, is looking for one last grand adventure and he finds it when a little girl, who has been abandoned by her mother, takes his hand.
Agatha Pantha has not left her home in seven years. She spends her days staring at her aging self in the mirror, listening to the static of the TV, and shouting insults at the people and things she can see from her living room window. Until the day a little girl with the red gumboots to match her curly red hair, knocks on her door.
These three unusual characters, lost souls who have somehow found each other, embark on a wild cross country quest to reunite Millie with her mother.

A quirky tale of loss, grief and love, Lost and Found is a touching debut from Brooke Davis. It confronts the taboo's of death and aging with sharp observations and an unique sense of humour incorporating a madcap road trip, a one legged mannequin and stolen keyboard letters.

The characters eccentricities are delightful. Seven year old Millie is endearing in all her precocious innocence, struggling to understand where people go when they leave. Karl, whose fingers never tire of typing love letters to his deceased wife, searching for his lost youth and vitality, and Agatha, whose shouty abrasiveness prevents her from feeling lonely and unloved.

Charming and whimsical, poignant and wise, Lost & Found is a bittersweet reminder that though all things die, life is to be lived.
Profile Image for Michael Robotham.
Author 49 books5,428 followers
June 3, 2014
I was dazzled by some of the language and observations in this book. A little twee or overly cute in places, but we should forgive this in a debut novel. Brooke Davis has a stunning career ahead of her.
Profile Image for Figgy.
678 reviews218 followers
July 13, 2017
Meet Millie.

She’s seven years old, observant, and fascinated by Dead Things.
She was fascinated by Dead Things even before her father became one. He was her twenty-ninth Dead Thing.

Actual rating 3.5 stars - But I honestly don't know whether to round it up or down.
(ETA - Decided on four stars because Millie broke my heart, and made me laugh, and just want more of her. Millie definitely makes this book.)

She sees the world in a way that will make you giggle, and then likely think back on when you were her age, whether you thought similar things.

There are books at school with pictures of mums with see-through stomachs, and she has always wanted to lift up the shirt of a pregnant lady, just to see if it really is true that your stomach goes see-through when you are pregnant. This makes sense, she thinks, to give the baby a chance to get used to the world before it is in it, like a glass-bottomed boat; otherwise, what a shock! How scary the world would be if you didn’t know it was coming.
Millie has also seen the books with the cartoon people who love each other so much that the man gives the lady a fish and the fish gets inside the lady and lays eggs, and those eggs turn into a human baby. She knows the baby comes out from the place you pee, but she has not seen pictures of this.
After Millie goes swimming in the ocean, she always watches her pee carefully for babies. Just. In. Case.

One day, Millie’s path crosses Karl’s. He’s a touch typist who’s eighty-seven years old and just wants to live again, if you could call what he once did living. He never got to have any adventures, but he did get to spend many years with the love of his life.
He’s got some living to make up for.

Karl wanted to feel again. He wanted to walk onto a crowded bus and make eye contact with a woman with brown hair, blonde hair, blue hair – just hair would be enough – and feel that flip in his stomach, that nice hurt. He wanted to write love letters to women, tons of them. He wanted to see some lesbians. He wanted to swear loudly. In public. He wanted an unattainable woman to break his heart. He wanted a foreigner to touch him on the arm. Man or woman, it didn’t matter. He wanted biceps. He wanted to give someone something big. Not meaningful, just huge.

And then they meet up with Agatha, an eighty-two year old lady who has spent the last seven years being angry at the world and voicing her thoughts on any and every subject that happened travel down the path outside her house. Because she hasn’t gone outside in seven years.
Once scared of and shocked by penises and the men who brandished them, she now pities them. Penises and men alike.

She remembered learning that all men had these monstrosities dangling between their legs. She couldn’t look at a man for a number of months afterwards. Just the knowledge that there were so many hidden penises around unnerved her. She didn’t know how other women could live in a world like this. She felt surrounded, trapped.
Men walked past her in the street and said hello with such smugness, and all Agatha could do was look at the ground and think, He has a penis he has a penis he has a penis. Later, though, as she watched her husband’s penis sadden and age, as all creatures do eventually, she was able to look men in the eye as they walked past her in the street. Hello, she would answer back, her eyes clear, her lips calm.
But she would think, I pity you and your dying penis.

After Millie’s dad died, her mum lost the plot, a plot of which she didn’t have much to begin with. She left Millie in a department store and told her to stay there, while she ran away from her daughter.

Millie’s mum threatened her with that once, Millie remembers, when she was tapping her fingers on her dinner plate during Dancing With The Stars. I’ll rip those things right off, her mum said, without turning around to face her. Don’t try me. And Millie didn’t try her – she hadn’t meant to try her – and sat on her fingers so they wouldn’t try anyone without her knowing.

Millie’s desperate to find her mum, to apologise, to make her mum happy, and to show her mum how good she can be.
After two nights of waiting, hiding inside a rack of ginormous undies, Millie thinks her mum might have lost the way back to her daughter.

Millie knew the way home but believed her mum was making sure Millie knew how to Do What She Was Told, that she knew how to be Good.
So, after a talk with the mannequin at dinner, Millie decided to make things easier for her mum to find her. Using paints from the hardware section, she painted IN HERE MUM as tall as she could on the glass of the automatic doors. Backwards, of course, so her mum could read it from the outside. She arranged the Connect Four pieces so they formed a right-turning arrow and placed the stand near the entrance.
All the mannequins lining the aisles had their arms positioned so they were pointing in the direction Millie’s mum should follow. Some of them held signs. Hi Mum! one said. Keep going! said another. Stop here for a snack! said the next mannequin, and Millie placed one of her Roll-Ups in its upturned hand. The Guess Who? people were arranged in an arrow, the houses from Monopoly indicated a left turn, the Twister spinner gestured forwards.
The nine mannequins closest to the undies each held a letter to spell, IN HERE MUM. The mannequin with the Hawaiian shirt held the final M. She hooked some bras together and strung them from the mannequin’s hand across the aisle, tying them to the top of the Ginormous Women’s Underwear rack like a finishing line. Millie decorated the trail with Christmas lights she found in a bargain bin, and then – letting her red boots poke out just a little bit – lay under the giant undies to wait.

When she has no choice but to leave the store, Millie tries to track down her mum, sticking signs up wherever she goes.

Millie wakes in the middle of the night. She pulls a piece of paper out of her backpack, walks out of the bedroom and down the hallway, opens the front door, and sticks it to the door with Blu-Tack. In Here Mum.

Millie looks down at her dad’s stubby holder on her forearm. She imagines herself with a cape, flying down the aisles of the train, hovering over everyone, and saving them. Flying right out of this train and straight to Melbourne. Her mum would have to forgive her because she will have been so Good. She locks eyes with the boy over the top of the comic. He seems to be egging her on.
So Millie sneaks into the first-class carriage –– and steals a white tablecloth. From her backpack, she pulls out her Funeral Pencil Case, writes CF on the tablecloth in thick black texta, and ties it around her neck. She takes off her gumboots and writes C on the right one and F on the left one. She writes IN HERE MUM on one forearm and SORRY MUM on the other.

This is the place, Millie says, and disappears inside, though not before writing IN HERE MUM in the dirt with her fingers.

Each of the characters had a very distinct voice, though Millie was the strongest, the most real, the reason they all came together in the first place.

The writing was evocative, and I couldn’t put it down. I actually bought the physical copy the day it came into work, because I knew it was going to be a fantastic book all up, based on the 60 or so pages I had already read via NetGalley.

I adored Millie. Loved every single thing about her.

I loved learning about these characters and what they had been through, in a story that was told with a linear base, but with tangents, memories, and thoughts running off for a moment, giving us the important bits and pieces to let us know who and why these characters were.

However, the italicised speech really bothered me, especially when trying to write a review for goodreads, which uses HTML, or trying to upload said review to places which don’t allow italics, such as NetGalley.

There was instalove. I understand that Agatha and Karl are both a lot older than the normal main characters, and “running short on time”, but they’d known each other (actually having spoken in close quarters, rather than each having romanticised the idea of the other from afar) for all of a few days, and they went a lot further than some YA instaloves do in such a short period of time.

They both had traits that made them quirky and interesting, but sometimes they acted in very strange ways for having lived in this world for so long. And I did find it hard to believe that Agatha was so ready to throw herself into the adventure after having not set foot outside her house in seven years. There were mentions of her routine and she got annoyed when she wasn’t allowed to keep it, and occasionally she slipped back into her old ways of shouting nasty things at passers-by.

I loved the first… 90% of the book, but the ending just sort’ve happened.

In short, I loved Millie, enjoyed Agatha and Karl for the most part, and didn’t want to put it down. I emerged with one heck of a book hangover, which I only usually get from good books, and this has become one of my three non-genre fiction titles, by Aussies or set in Aus, which I recommend to customers, the other two being The Rosie Project and I Am the Messenger.

But there were things that could have been done better or tied up more clearly.

This was provided free of charge by NetGalley and Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Barbara.
1,286 reviews637 followers
April 13, 2015
This is a sweet story with some heavy messages. It’s a story of grief and the process of grief. It’s a story of the elderly and how society treats them. It’s a story of assessing your life: finding regrets, disappointments, and frustrations. It sounds like a sad story, but it’s not. Told from three character’s points of view, Brooke Davis uses each character to provide the reader with fodder of life circumstances.

The story begins with Millie Bird, who is seven years old and has lost her father. In her innocence, she’s trying to find out what happens when one dies. She bribes the school yard bully with raisins to get the answers. She on her own is trying to come to terms with death.

Karl the Touch Typist lost his beloved wife. She was his world. While still grieving, his son places him in an Old Folks Home. Karl reflects upon his life, having regrets for things he didn’t do while spry.

Agatha Pantha suffers such intense grief she has not left her house since her husband has died. She’s stuck in her grief, and she’s angry…..very angry.

I generally prefer realistic fiction to over-the-top crazy fiction. This zany story works because the subject matters are serious and depressing. The situations the characters find themselves in allow levity to what could be a morose and bleak tale. I laughed out loud at times, and tears welled in my eyes at other points in the novel.

In her author notes, Davis explains the origin of the novel. What I liked from her ideas is that grief is a process with no end. It is not linear. The journey of grief hits each individual in a unique way. How each person gets through their journey is singular to that person. This novel helped me because I read it at a perfect time in my journey. I highly recommend it to readers open to examining grief and the process of grief.
Profile Image for Caroline.
581 reviews807 followers
November 3, 2015
2.5 out of 5 stars

OKAY so I am actually really disappointed with the ending of this book. The point where it ends should have been the beginning of some kind of bigger resolution but instead it just cuts off. I didn't like that. For the most part, this book was quite good. I liked the characters but for the most part I found them to be caricatures; like they were really dramatised versions of normal people. Agatha was probably my favourite of the main three because she was so funny and judgey.

This book was really depressing most of the time. Two of the three main characters are over 80 and struggling with the loss of their spouse. They are old and lonely and bitter and contemplative. Their inner monologues were very thoughtful at times but were mostly I'm old and I'm going to die no one loves me I'm old and lonely which I understand but it doesn't make for good reading.

I work at a nursing home so I am around elderly people all the time. Although a lot of them are sad or lonely, most of them want to share their story and are very friendly and approachable. I understand that the two characters in this story have had things happen to them to make them this way and I understand using that to further their development. But I feel like it kind of misrepresents old people to be like 'they're old so they are bitter and leave it at that. I don't know. It just kind of annoyed me.

Millie was cute but she kind of creeped me out. She's seven and has this weird obsession with death that I found really bizarre. I think I would have liked her character more had the ending not cut off so suddenly and I had gained some actual closure from her story. Where is her mum? Does she find her? WHAT HAPPENS? I don't like not knowing what happens to characters. This story felt kind of incomplete.
Profile Image for Irina Constantin.
98 reviews73 followers
March 19, 2021
Cartea asta se digeră mai bine decât o întreagă zi de martie marcată de fenomene imprevizibile și pendante, cartea asta o citești chiar și după ce o închizi, cât te duci să hrănești pisica sau să scoți gunoiul, cartea asta m-a citit pe mine, m-am regăsit în toate refulările și suferințele autoarei, un debut remarcabil al scriitoarei autraliene Brooke Davis, am uitat deschis robinetul sau vasele în chiuvetă de trei zile, dar nu am putut să închid cartea asta, m-am pierdut cu Millie fetița de șapte ani prin raionul de cosmetice și lenjerie de la magazinul unde s-a sinucis mama sa, așteptând să stea ploaia de afară ca să ieșim la lumină împreună, am uitat televizorul deschis până pe ecran pe ecran au apărut pureci ca Agatha Pantha, bătrâna care nu comunică cu nimeni uitând toate luminile aprinse...Cartea mi-a pătruns în toate ungherele minții, chiar și acolo unde era cel mai întuneric, ca într-o trecere subterană abandonată...sumbră și distopică, amestecată cu tristețe și bucurie trecătoare, Obiecte pierdute nu face decât să demonstreze încă odată inconsistența prezentului amorf și nihilismul pasiv a personajelor care nu se revoltă, nu se ceartă și nu se zbat să obțină ceva anume de la lumea asta...Scriitoare are un stil volatil și ușor, toate prenumele sunt scrise cu litere mici probabil vrând să le atribuie o natură moartă chiar și oamenilor , asemenea la niște obiecte ieșite din uz ne vom pierde și noi când rugina în loc de vitalitatea sângelui ne va transforma organismul...
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews292 followers
February 27, 2015

I liked this novel overall, but often felt that I was reading a story about three children on a road trip. The level of quirkiness reverted everyone back to little children, rather than the intended interesting adults. The plot was good and this story really did have some touching moments. I just felt like the story ended up feeling a little lost.

It was a short book yet it dragged, the characters were unique but to the point of parody. The chapters are divided into three narratives and I only really enjoyed Millie's. Despite my grumbling I did really enjoy Millie's chapters and she felt like an authentic (for the most part) seven year old to me. I think with more direction this novel could have been a winner, BUT I did still enjoy it for what it was.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Borrow

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,027 followers
January 25, 2015
This was a sweet and funny, also sometimes sad, book about a little Australian girl who is obsessed with death and gets abandoned by her mother. The story starts in a department store, where she is hiding until her mother comes back for her, and a retired man saves her from social servies with the help of the cranky recluse from across the street.

Profile Image for Jay G.
1,197 reviews465 followers
September 2, 2018
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

When 7 year old Millie Bird is abandoned by her mother in a department store one day, she meets Karl the Touch Typist and old Agatha Pantha. Together they set off on an epic journey across Australia to find Millie's mother.

This book was cute and a very quick read but nothing overly memorable in my opinion. Each character is unique and I loved the alternating perspectives between the three. Millie's character was my favourite but Karl was a close second. I love how the relationship between the three grows and changes through out the story. The ending seemed very rushed though and I was a bit disappointed with that.
Profile Image for Tülay Tellioğlu (morrkitap).
288 reviews26 followers
January 21, 2019
Kitaba başlarken tanıtım yazısından yola çıkarak yüreğime dokunacak hüzünlü bir hikaye okuyacağımı düşündüm ama kitap bittiğinde “Az önce ne okudum ben ya?” demekten kendimi alamadım. Beklentimi asla karşılamayan hikaye boyunca sürekli gereksiz yerlere odaklanan bir kitaptı. Bırakmayı düşündüm ama sırf yazar bu dağınıklığı nasıl toplayacak diye merak ettiğimden kitabı bitireyim dedim ve sonunda da gördüğüm kadarıyla dağınıklık toplanamamış.🙄 Ayrıca yazarın dilini de pek sevemedim. Çünkü bütün cümlelerin şimdiki zaman kipi ile oluşturulmasından hoşlanmıyorum. Kısacası bana hitap etmedi. Sevenlerine ise saygım sonsuz.
Profile Image for _kirsebaer_.
159 reviews11 followers
February 18, 2021
Abgebrochen nach 130/288 Seiten.
Ich habe es lange versucht, aber werde nun aufgeben und das Buch nicht beenden.
Die Geschichte dreier verrückter unterschiedlicher Charaktere kalng vom Klappentext super, allerdings hat die Umsetzung es mir sehr schwer gemacht.
Millie, eine siebenjährige, die ihren Vater verliert und deren Mutter sie in einem Kaufhaus verlässt. Karl, ein alter Mann, der nach dem Tod seiner Frau nicht im Altenheim leben will und Agatha, eine sehr auf Abläufe und Routinen bedachte alte Frau, die ebenfalls alleine lebt.
Diese drei treffen aufeinander und es soll eine wunderbare Freundschaft entstehen.
Leider hat vor allem der Stil, bei dem ich häufig micht zuordnen konnte, wann bestimmte Ereignisse gerade dargestellt werden mich irritiert.
Zudem ist sämtliche Rede im Buch in kursiver Schrift und ohne Absätze und mit nur wenig eindeutigen Satzzeichen verfasst. Dies hat meinen Lesefluss immens gestört.
Profile Image for Sarah (Workaday Reads).
1,073 reviews97 followers
December 7, 2017
This story was unexpected. I'm not sure what I was really expecting when I sat down and started it, but it wasn't this delightful and captivating story. I liked this a lot more than I expected. It's sad and funny, with quirky characters that are easy to love and root for.

The ending was both expected and unexpected, sad and happy, and not at all usual, but overall satisfying.

This isn't a book I would usually pick up, but I'm glad I did because it was delightful.
Profile Image for Joanna.
105 reviews11 followers
April 21, 2014
By Brooke Davis, a friend and someone I will always be glad I met ;)

‘Lost and Found’ is an absolute joy to read. If there is one book you are going to read this year (or this lifetime for that matter) let it be this one. In this special book you will find love, joy, heartbreak, grief, denial and finally acceptance and peace.

Millie, Just Mille, Millie Bird. A sweet and curious little girl trying to find her way after her dad dies. Having always had a keen interest in death and ‘dead things’ Millie just wants to know what happened to her dad. Is he on another planet? Has he frozen and turned into plastic, now displaying clothes in the local department store? Unceremoniously abandoned by her fragile mother, Millie has to find her place in this world. But how to do that all alone?

Enter Karl and Agatha Pantha. Agatha Pantha is 82. She’s old. What’s worse is she’s continuing to age. And she Is. Not. Happy. About. It. Confined to her home since her husband died 7 years ago, Agatha spends her days hurling insults at passers by, (and not just passers by, innate objects also fall prey to her ranting’s) watching loud static on the TV and generally being a hermit. That’s all about to change. When she realises her neighbour has abandoned her 7 year old child, Agatha takes a leap and decides its up to her to get this girl back where she belongs.
Karl is an 87 year old Touch Typist who used to spend his time typing love letters with his fingers on his wife’s skin. Dropped off at a nursing home by his son, Karl decides this is not it. He is going to do something wild, something that could be straight out of a movie. He wants to discover how to be a man again. With his body failing him and his mind propelling him into adventure he inadvertently finds himself attached to Millie and her quest to find her mum.
Sad and heart warming, this novel spans the continent of not only this country, but grief as a process and as something everybody lives with for their whole lives.

Pick this book up, NOW.
Profile Image for Andrea.
744 reviews31 followers
June 5, 2017
This had all the quirky charm that I'd been led to expect, but I couldn't totally warm to all three of the principal characters. I struggled to believe in Millie Bird, the capable-and wise-beyond-her-years seven year old. That aside, it was a tender, heart-warming story.
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